O3b announces six capacity deals in Pacific, South Atlantic

17 Jun 2015

O3b Networks has announced that American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA) has deployed its O3bTrunk system, providing high speed international connectivity via O3b’s Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites. The contract includes a commitment for 1.2Gbps which more than doubles ASTCA’s backhaul and internet capacity for the Samoan archipelago and provides a safety net in the event of a failure of its submarine fibre system. Prior to the O3b launch, American Samoa and the Independent State of Samoa relied on the American Samoa Hawaii (ASH) and Samoa-American Samoa (SAS) submarine cables (both launched in 2009 according to TeleGeography’s Submarine Cable Map). ASTCA’s ‘unique’ implementation of O3bTrunk integrates satellite broadband with submarine fibre-optic capacity, a press release adds, giving customers a blended latency of less than 90ms, while enabling ASTCA to deliver flexible low latency capacity, with redundant reliability, anywhere in American Samoa via its new fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network that is due for completion by 30 June 2015. Roy Hall Junior, ASTCA chairman, declared that O3bTrunk is also critical to the success of the telco’s ‘Broadband Linking the American Samoa Territory’ (BLAST) project which will link the main islands of American Samoa to deliver ‘true broadband services to every household, business, and critical institution in the Territory.’

Meanwhile, O3b Networks has agreed to provide additional trunking services to Digicel PNG in Papua New Guinea, the Digicel Group’s largest market by population (with over seven million people). Digicel PNG launched O3bTrunk services in July 2014, and increased the capacity in February and May 2015, a 150% increase in data throughput from the initial level. Because of the demand for internet bandwidth in the capital Port Moresby, O3b has two high throughput, low latency beams from its MEO satellites fixed on Port Moresby for Digicel, a release noted. The O3b connectivity supports Digicel mobile broadband for businesses (mainly via wireless broadband modems), as well as consumers (mainly using 3G smartphones).

O3b Networks has also signed a multi-year agreement to provide additional trunking services to Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC), to support the PalauCel 3G mobile service which launched in January 2015. PNCC began using O3bTrunk services in October 2014, enabling the subsequent 3G launch, offering both fixed and mobile data services to a growing subscriber base. PalauCel also supports 2.5G EDGE to enable customers to use existing cellphones for data services with the aim of upgrading to 3G-enabled smartphones. Palau, located in the Western Pacific Ocean, is part of the Micronesia island group and has a population of 21,000 spread over 250 islands.

Elsewhere this week, O3b Networks inked another multi-year strategic framework agreement to provide IP trunking services to Bharti Airtel in Timor-Leste. Airtel will use the improved connectivity to support growth of 2G/3G customers across Timor-Leste, replacing the bulk of existing geostationary satellite-based capacity from other service providers. O3b’s MEO satellites orbit the earth with one quarter the distance and one quarter the latency of geostationary satellites, the press release noted.

In a further release, O3b Networks announced an agreement with Our Telekom, the leading telecoms service provider in Solomon Islands, to significantly increase its contracted capacity over the O3b MEO satellite constellation, following the launch in April 2015. The O3b connectivity has so far been used primarily for Our Telekom’s enterprise customers, and the operator is upgrading bandwidth by almost 60% to meet the high demand from this important customer segment, especially in the capital city of Honiara. Solomon Islands is the fifth largest nation in the Oceania region, with over 1,000 islands and an extremely dispersed population.

Lastly, O3b Networks has announced yet another multi-year agreement, this time to provide trunking services to Chilean telco Entel, to enable 3G and 4G LTE services, as well as broadband internet access, on Easter Island, the remotest part of the Entel network, being almost 3,700km from mainland Chile in the Polynesian Triangle. Although having a population of less than 6,000, Easter Island receives around 80,000 tourist visits each year. Omar Trujillo, VP of Latin America for O3b, stated: ‘The O3b network will enable Entel to dramatically improve the quality of service for Easter Island residents and visitors and broaden the range of products offered to this remote market. O3b’s scalability, high throughput and speed of deployment will deliver advanced mobile and broadband services to Easter Island for the first time.’